Wednesday, 17 February 2021
Department of Health
742. To ask the Minister for Health if he has considered declaring counselling services an essential service that can be conducted face-to-face with the necessary precautions taken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8253/21]
As you aware, Ireland is at level 5 of the Government's medium-term Strategy Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19. This 5-level framework sets out what is permitted for social or family gatherings, work and public transport, bars, hotels and restaurants, exercise activities and religious services, at that moment in time.
The public health measures recognise the need to reduce congregation and interactions between people to reduce the transmission of Covid-19. The number of people allowed to gather in different scenarios in the plan is based on a review of international practice and the judgment of public health experts. It seeks to balance the risks of different types of gatherings against the desire to allow normal activities to proceed in so far as possible. The measures in place for each level reflect the prevailing disease situation and recognise that we can and must prioritise some activities over others.
At level 5, all non-essential retail, and all non-essential services must remain closed. Information in relation to the current public health measures in relation to essential retail/essential services at level 5 is available at:-
The Deputy should note that therapy services provided by a member of a designated profession within the meaning of section 3 of the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 (No. 27 of 2005) are considered essential under the regulations. The list of Human Health and Social Work Activities considered essential at Level 5 can be viewed at:-
The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (NO. 10) Regulations 2020 Regulation (S.I. 701 of 2020), sets out the relevant businesses or services under the current public health measures. Statutory Instruments related to the Covid-19 pandemic are available here: